If you are not hip to the Suburban Noize movement than allow your boy Stoli to get you current. This is one of the hottest labels in the indie-scene, period! The Dirtball comes from the SN camp and his new album, ‘Crook County’ is out now! Join us as we discuss his new album, hallucinogens, musical creativity, and mind elevation!
Stoli: Right off the bat, how did you get the alias, The Dirtball?
D: The name came out of my style of drumming when I was younger. I made it a point to strip my drumkit down to kick/snare/hat, and had a buddy that did the entire opposite. He had too many toms and cymbals in my opinion. A fellow bass player coined him sneaks, and then me The Dirtball. I believe for my dirty beats I busted out when we jammed. So, all in all, thats where it came from. I’ve had the name since age 13, so I kept it……all the way through my musical projects. It’s unique.
Stoli: How long did it take to record your new album, ‘Crook County’?
D: I recorded the album and all other records in between tours. Thank god I have my studio in my house and I can track there. The rest gets mixed by our producers Patrick Shevelin, www.relativereality.net and Mike Kumagai. I put a ton of work into the production of the songs before I even started any vocal part, so that added some extra time on this record. I am not one to go in and just bust out a record in a few weeks. I like to spend time over longer periods, and really give it that feel. That way I have songs that all have a different flavor and appeal.
Stoli: Your new video “Mushroom Cloud” is about expanding your mind. What do you say to fans who admire you and want to experiment as well?
D: Hahaa. Mind expansion is the key! I would have to tell my fans, to just find a safe place and eat em. Then focus on the good things you have going. I have always wanted to exploit the mushroom experience and I did. That’s why I did the video in a cabin way out there. Eating these while driving or in large crowds is not recommended.
Stoli: The whole Suburban Noize roster have a huge following without much mass media like MTV or Clear Channel. How would you explain why that is?
D: It is a direct result of all the hard work the Kottonmouth Kings, Kevin Zinger, and the label have put in over the years. I am fortunate to be on their team, and ride on a lot of what they have created. All the bands on the roster become a part of this growing movement as well, and each has their respective part of this following. It is also cool for fans to see that they are a part of something non-corporate. I think they pride themselves in that, and that’s what keeps this all going.
Stoli: Have you ever been doing shrooms and had a bad trip, please explain how you dealt with that?
D: Oh have I ever! I used to eat a ton of them growing up, now I can only eat smaller portions at a time. I have had several ‘bad trips’. J. But the only thing that made them bad were other angles of my life that weren’t in order. You know, when your high on those things, every bunk aspect of your life can come out. I just take those and remember when I come down, to tackle those issues. So, next time the trip will be pure bliss…which it usually is.
“Mushroom Cloud” Off ‘Crook County’[youtube 1upFWeyrPOI nolink]
Stoli: How much would you say that drugs help you be creative & create music?
D: You know, its never been something that I need to create. I am usually sober when I am recording and creating. But my sobriety requires bonghits. Does that make sense? Haha. The bong rips help me when I am tracking, and actually laying the vox down on the mic. It loosens me up. A few cold beers will also help that out! I don’t do any other drugs, so I cant really say much more. But weed for sure is a lifeline for me. All other creative angles come from the love of writing, poetry, and music. That is first and foremost. The rips, and the booze come secondary.
Stoli: Before you go on stage what do you need to get ready to perform?
D: When I am preparing, I do a lot of vocal warm-ups. Hot tea and honey, maybe a weed hit, and just relaxation, get me prepared. I try to place myself in a mind frame of confidence. That’s the key. Going into it knowing your gonna kill it on stage. I also need new crisp dickies, and a new fresh shirt. Clean kicks are also a must!
Stoli: Last night I saw Tech N9ne in Worcester. At first I felt like I was at an ICP show. I can see a scene that is part hip hop, part goth, part metal. Where do you see this movement heading?
D: Over the last four years of touring within this scene, I have seen it develop a ton. It cool, because all suburban noize fans, tech9 fans, and ICP fans have and are coming together. Realizing that this IS one big fanbase, and we are in this together. Sure there are people that worship there favorite labels and artists, but collectively, I see everyone coming together more. I feel that Big B and myself have had our parts in that too and still do. We have been out numerous times with the Kings, Tech9, and ICP, so we have helped integrate the bases. The more the better. Good music holds no boundaries of types of fans. If they like it, they will come.
Stoli: Growing up in Oregon, what artists influenced you to mesh rock & rap to create The Dirtball sound?
D: I have been a drummer my whole life, so I’ve always been into bands like Fugazi, Janes Addiction, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Primus etc. I would say, Tim Alexander, the drummer from Primus had the most influence on me as a musician. And Anthony Kiedis from Red Hot rapped a fair amount which opened my eyes to it. Further along, the Phunk Junkeez back in the day had help in shaping it as well, and I have had the chance to tour with them a couple times in the last five years. Listening to records like Boogie Down Productions, Eazy E, NWA, EPMD, and others, helped shape my rap desire. I just began meshing the raps while I was drumming at the same time, and that was what started my sound.
Stoli: Suburband Noize is a hot label to be on. How did you end up with them and do they offer you creative control?
D: Yeah man, it is a hot label! I am so stoked to be a part of it. I feel blessed and at the same time put in my work to get here, so I feel it is deserved. I was sending Suburban Noize demos from my old band in Salt Lake City from about 1997 through 2001. The band then broke up (I had to get off the drums and focus oonmy raps), and I made a self-produced rap record called, The Dirty D Project Vol. 1. I sent that to them as well. Daddy X and Kevin Zinger recognized my hustle and signed me to the SRH artist of the month for about three months, then I was officially signed to the label. And yes, they do allow tons of creative control. Its dope. I have never once felt stifled by that issue. There is a big difference between creawtive control and production assistance. That is what I think is the best thing. The producers I work with through Subnoize are great about teaming up on the production end and working with the artist to capture the sound. A team effort everytime, which allows me to feel confident in my music.
Stoli: What artists in the industry do you kick it with and what kind of parties do you throw?
D: I have met a ton of artists at this point, but have really become good friends with a lot of them. Obviously, the Kottonmouth Kings have become some of my best friends. They have shown me morelove than I expected and the relationships have traveled outside of the music. I have also become great friends with Tech9 and his whole crew. Everyone at Strange Music are very down to earth people, and I am happy to have them on my side. I meet a lot of other artists as well, and the list is ever-growing. On the partying tip, I do it big! Well, usually its just my close friends at home, because I am always on the road. It is a non-stop party out there and putting a gauge on that is impossible. But when we do it, we do it pretty big out here! Gotta watchthe vocal chords though. Booze don’t help the voice for rapping, but sure makes me feel good. J
Stoli: Why do you think the government will not legalize marijuana?
D: Ya know, I am not sure. I am tired of trying to be concerned on this issue. I get big bags of grass up in Oregon with no problems at all. A lot of states have the medicinal side locked down, which is cool too. But it will be quite some time before it is actually legalized. Maybe when our kids are 20 and 30 years old, it will be legalized, but until then, I am not worried. The only thing that bums me out is what Hemp could do for our economy and our lives. Its that part that I would like to see legalized. The actual buds?, well, grow some off grid and relax. Its not like its too hard to find weed here in the states. My advice would be to purchase larger amounts at a time. Not just a sack at a time. This will minimize being pissed at how hard it is to find it.
Stoli: What kind of ladies do you choose to chill with after a show?
D: I chill in the BLL with the Kottonmouth Kings after the shows. Back Lounge Ladies. That’s what we are. Well, they actually are the official ones, but I am working my way up there. I have a beautiful lady at home and that is what keeps me going. There are a ton of hot, hot ladies out there though, and it is difficult to stay focused, but we do it.
Stoli: What should readers know about the new album and what about it makes you most proud?
D: Know that when you pick up my new CD, Crook County, in stores everywhere, that you are picking up a record full of different sounds. From hard core rap to home town good vibes, the album is a blend of all styles of rapping. I not only focus on my signature speedy rap patterning, but flex different approaches as well. Pickup this record and preserve the duration of quality rap music. Thanks a grip!
Stoli: Thank you Dirtball!